Last Houthi stronghold in Jawf liberated

Clashes, which saw the pro-Yemeni government forces recapturing large parts of Ghail, killed 11 Houthi militias

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Yemen’s national army and the pro-government Popular Resistance Committees have liberated on Saturday Al-Gail village in the northern governorate of Al-Jawf, the last key stronghold for the Iran-backed Houthi militias and their allied forces loyal to the deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni official news agency quoted a military source as saying.

“The national army and resistance fighters, backed by the [Saudi-led] Arab Coalition’s jet fighters, launched an offensive on Saturday morning on the sites of the Houthi militia in Al-Gail, in which they liberated the village,” the military source said.

He added that scores of Houthi militias were killed and wounded, while dozens escaped the battlefield.

Citing military sources, Agence France-Presse said the clashes, which saw the pro-government forces recapturing large parts of Ghail, killed 11 militias and five government loyalists.

Jawf is on the border with Saudi Arabia and is mostly controlled by loyalist forces.

In the Bab al-Mandab region itself, fighting on Saturday killed three loyalists and wounded 17, other military sources said.

The clashes took place in the mountainous Kahbub area overlooking the strait. Five rebels were also killed, the loyalist military sources said.

AFP could not verify the rebel toll from independent sources, and the insurgents rarely acknowledge their losses.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led Arab Coalition have dubbed attack by the Houthis on a UAE ship carrying aid Saturday in the Bab al-Mandab strait as a “dangerous indication.” The coalition said civilians onboard the ship were rescued.

Loyalist forces recaptured Perim island in the Bab al-Mandab strait in October last year, gaining a foothold on the strategic shipping lane which connects the Suez Canal and Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

But the militias still control some of the heights which overlook the strait from the mainland, where there has been fierce fighting in recent days.

Military sources in Yemen told AFP that the militias shelled a loyalist military camp in the Bab al-Mandab area on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber targeted a residential area in Yemen's port city of Aden on Saturday, killing at least one civilian and wounding others.

Only scant details have emerged about the suicide bombing which took place in the Crater district. However, residents who were close to the site of the explosion said that a speeding car approached the area, where a young man appearing to be in his twenties was thrown out and detonated himself shortly after.

Security sources have not yet been able to confirm who was behind the attack. The southern port city has been hit by frequent bombings claimed by militants of al-Qaeda or the ISIS group.

(With AFP)

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